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Vancouver Canucks bristle at ‘villain’ title

Jun 13, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Mark Recchi, Maxim Lapierre AP

While some outlets have hammered on the storyline a bit more than others, it seems like the consensus is that the Vancouver Canucks are the “bad guys” of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. (At least for people who enjoy the practice of adopting villains and heroes for sporting events in this age.)

That’s not to say that the Boston Bruins are being fitted for a halo anytime soon. Tim Thomas‘ great play generates comparisons to the work of Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy, but his unfiltered rage also reminded some of the fury of Billy Smith or Ron Hextall. Brad Marchand has the tendency to get under peoples’ skin and the team occasionally earns back its historical nickname of the “Big, Bad Bruins.” (See: their brawl-filled regular season game against the smallish Montreal Canadiens.)

All of that aside, the conventional wisdom is that the Canucks aren’t exactly the darling of unbiased observers. Antics highlighted by Aaron Rome’s hit and Alexandre Burrows bite – not to mention the claims of diving, which may or may not be fair in the grand scheme of things – haven’t made Vancouver an adopted favorite among many fans.

The Canucks seem to bristle at the claims of villainy, as Joe Haggerty explains.

“I don’t think we’re in the villain role. I really don’t,” said Bieksa. “There are a few people that don’t like the way we play, but usually when you win people don’t like that. I know when we played Chicago last year I don’t remember too many people saying anything nice about them – but I’m pretty sure if you asked them they couldn’t care less.

“We don’t feel like villains. We feel like we have all of Canada cheering for us and that’s an entire country. So how can you be a villain when a whole country is cheering for you?”

It might be a stretch to say that all of Canada is rooting for the Canucks – one can assume that fans of division rivals such as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames might be reluctant to cross that line – but it’s reasonable to think that many Canadians are pulling for them. It’s been 18 years since Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens became the last Canadian-based team to win a Stanley Cup, although the chalice obviously spends plenty of time north of the border either way.

However the rest of the hockey world feels, a Canucks Cup win would make them heroes in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Something tells me they care a lot more about that designation than any media-fueled “villain” labels.

  1. Ralphie - Jun 13, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I agree, “Villains” is not the right word. Insert either “Spineless”,”Devious” “Divers” or “Meat Wallets”, all of them would fit well.

  2. madtolive5 - Jun 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    I think the difference is that the Bruins are not talking off ice. Vancouver every single day is making some comment, not to mention on ice they are flopping like snipers are in the stands.

    • stoankold - Jun 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      At least in Game 5, it seemed like everybody was getting the “no diving” message except for Burrows. Maybe others were diving too and I just didn’t notice as much since Burrows was so over the top. First he gets put in the box for it, then he doesn’t even get a second look from the refs in the 3rd period when he swan dived to the ice. He’s been embellishing so much that now legit penalties might not get called.

      • cannonblast14 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Lapierre too. Thats it though. If/ when the Canucks win the Cup, those are the only two guys i will hate to watch lift it.

      • jensen2401 - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        That “swan dive” to the ice in the third period was caused by a high stick that drew blood; it should have drawn an automatic four minute penalty. NBC just didn’t air it, preferring to put their own spin on things.

        The most accurate thing in this article were the words: “media-fueled”.

  3. kingjoe1 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    The Bruins are talking off the ice as well as acting like 3 year olds on the ice. The villians are the Bruins coach and their whiny fans. The Bruins have taken cheaps shots at players in every single round of the playoffs. In finals they aren’t gettting the best of the other team and can;t shut the eff up about it.
    I am not a Canucks fan, but I would have rather had the Heat win the Championship with LeDouche than see the petulant children on the Bruins win a Cup.

    • cannonblast14 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      Every team has taken cheap shots in every round. Thats part of what playoff hockey is. You dont like to see it, but the players will do anything to get the Cup. You just dont want to see that every team is doing it.

  4. blomfeld - Jun 13, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Thelma and Louise, assorted diving rats, an over-rated “Michelin Man” goaltender ? … apart from Kevin Bieksa, this is indeed a team to thoroughly detest ! … right from the “back-stabbing” Mike Gilles at the top, to the “tax-evading” trainers at the bottom ! …and I say that as a Vancouver native, who’s been watching the Canucks all these years since “Day 1” …

  5. crusty14 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    As a previous poster stated, ALL teams participate in the cheap shots, little slashes and hacks, and chirping on the ice during play and after the whistle has blown. The difference here in the final is that the Canucks have been whining post game to the league or media or both trying to get penalties called. The problem being is that divers and embellishers like burrows and lapierre have taken their act to the next level, and the refs have recognized this, that is why some calls against these goofs have gone uncalled. The Canucks coaching staff should read ” the little boy who cried wolf” to these knobs and tell them to play hard and cut out the theatrics!

  6. manhorse69 - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Burrows can just save it. I’m pretty sure he’s not drawing another penalty this series.

  7. manhorse69 - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Also, Bruins haven’t hidden from their reputation whereas the Canucks can’t decide what they want their reputation to be and try to change it to serve their need.
    Canuck- Yeah, we’re a tough team and we’re not afraid to get physical out there.

    Canuck (following the game)- We were getting killed out there and the refs didn’t do anything to stop it. We’re a speed and finesse team that relies its superior skill to win games.

    Sorry again Blom. A tip of the cap to you, sir.

    • blomfeld - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      @manhorse – hey man, good to see you over here ! … and by all means, have at it with my “Blomfeld-patented situational-dialogue” format … I was seriously laughing my head off yesterday with your “RB-TDN” exchange, where Ballenge was forced to resign from NBC, due to the fact that his 3rd cousin or someone had once held a door open for Woods ! …
      anyway, I’m a Vancouver guy who is pulling for the Bruins (ie: Bobby Orr forever !) … this current edition of the Canucks is very similar to that 70’s horror movie “Willard”, where all the rats go berserk and kill everyone, including Ernest Borgnine ! :)

  8. canucks18 - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Blom….. You are a disgrace. No true fan would ever talk lime that. Vancouver wont claim you after that, you are an idiot.

    • blomfeld - Jun 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      Mr.Canucks – not to worry my friend, as my sentiments are due to a “personal” issue which I have with a certain “famous” Canuck of old … therefore, it’s “off with their heads” I say ! … :)

      pro shop guy: hello sir, how may I help you ?

      Canucks18: I wanna golf right now asshole !

      pro shop guy: is that a fact ? … and what on earth is that on your backside ?

      Canucks18: that’s called a “tail” asshole ! … you got a problem with rats or something ?

      pro shop guy: I’m afraid sir that “you’re” the one with the problem …

      Canucks18: what do you mean ? … like, what are you talking about ?

      pro shop guy: guards ! … kindly show this rat the way out ! … “head first !”

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